Nurses enhance allergy policy to spread awareness

Inaara Tajuddin, staff reporter

The nurse’s office sent a mass email addressed to South’s staff on March 7 to bring awareness of latex and nut allergies. These allergies are becoming increasingly common among South students, according to Barbara Marzillo, South’s head nurse.

The decision to send out the email was unanimous between the nurses, and Marzillo said the email will make staff and students  aware of students’ allergies rather than completely preventing the use of latex and nuts in school.

“[Allergies are] not something you can really prevent; it’s just an awareness and people ask all the time why it is more common now, and I don’t really have the answer to that,” Marzillo said. “We are not at all a peanut free school. We aren’t saying that, we are just saying to just be aware. There are people around you that are so, so allergic.”

The email asked staff to abstain from using latex and nuts completely if possible. Hypothetically, if a staff member needed to use latex or nuts, then they would have to inform the nurses beforehand. Situational measures have already been taken, according to Marzillo.

“[South staff] all got the email; the people that need to know have the list of the kids with severe allergies: paper form and email form. Each student is listed in teacher logic individually so a teacher can look it up, and we count on students to just speak up,” Marzillo said.

Biology teacher Fred Kocian explains that almost all products, most commonly gloves, with latex have been removed, and that precautionary measures have been taken.

“We use the Nitrile and powder free gloves because some people are allergic to the powder they use also,” Kocian said. “It’s better to be safe, not to have any latex gloves because these allergies can develop anytime, it doesn’t have to be since the day they were born, so we take as many precautions possible not to have the latex.”

Freshman Jaclyn Buhay-Castro, who has severe allergies to peanuts, feels relieved that the nurse’s office is taking measures to make South more aware, and she thinks that it can be beneficial to those that have allergies.

“It helps people become more aware of not only the peanut and latex allergies but also of other allergies that people have,” Buhay-Castro said. “I think it helps a lot because if allergies become more known, more people would know how to help in an [allergic] situation.”

Marzillo emphasized that she felt that students should not have to worry about their health issues, but rather spend time at school focusing on their studies. She also said that she is more concerned with students who are not aware that they have an allergy.

“I personally think that the way allergies are going now with more and more people allergic, what I worry about is not as much the kids who we know about but ones we don’t know about,” Marzillo said. “These allergies can be very, very life threatening and very severe and I worry about kids who don’t know about it.”

After sending the email, Marzillo said she received positive feedback from staff and that right now, although the goal is to spread awareness on nuts and latex allergies, she can see a potential nut and latex free South in the future.